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Glacier Shuttles vs Rental Car for East Glacier to Prince of Wales?

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My plan was to utilize the shuttles (paid and free) but the paid shuttle folks just recommended we rent a car (!!!) because the shuttles might be full and they don't take reservations. (!!!)

Suggestions?

Aug. 16 Glacier Park Lodge to Prince of Wales Hotel in Canada.
Aug. 17 Check into Rising Sun.
-- the rest of the time we are hiking to the chalets and then out to Many Glacier.

My plan (ha) was to use Glacier Park Inc. east side shuttle on Aug. 16 up to Prince of Wales. ($50 per person ONE WAY, total $100) 11am dept with arrival around 3pm-ish.

Next day, take the shuttle down to St. Mary's with arrival around 4:30. ($30/person Total $60) Then the free NPS shuttle to Rising Sun Motor Lodge.

Yes, this will total $160. But if we rent a car (much cheaper) we are screwed. How do we get a car pick up at Glacier Park Lodge (arriving via Amtrak) and then drop off at St. Mary's? That would be the BEST scenario, but I don't think I can do it. If we drop off at Glacier Park we STILL have to depend on the shuttle which leaves at 11am. Meaning we'd have to leave Prince of Wales by 6am to get down to East Glacier in time. Ridiculous.

Renting a car the whole time won't work as we are doing a point to point hike with chalet stops in the middle. Start at Sperry and out at Many Glacier. Again we have to rely on their shuttle busses (that you can't reserve a seat on). Are there any other options to get around if the shuttle is booked? Other than hitch?

Suggestions? Options?

Thanks!

Denise

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